Following Devon Conway’s century on Test debut for the Black Caps, Omphile Ramela credits his success to perseverance and finding the right environment to succeed.
South African-born Devon Conway has taken to international cricket like a duck to water. His century on debut at the Home of Cricket was the 14th for a New Zealander on debut. It also happens to be the 14th for a South African-born batsman on debut as well.
Conway’s success for his adopted nation has left many puzzled over how he managed to slip through the cracks in the South African system. Lions batsman Omphile Ramela took to social media to weigh in on the debate.
Ramela says Conway’s talent was obvious, even in his school days.
‘From the time Devon arrived at St John’s College, his talent was evident for all to see. I enjoyed his ability to read the game and his commitment to the game.
‘When he left school he was prolific and dominated amateur [semi-professional] cricket.’
Ramela, however, claims that it was a stifling atmosphere within South Africa that prevented Conway from succeeding. He claims that poor management by coaches meant Conway lost out on a professional contract and ultimately sought greener pastures.
‘There are many reasons why players leave SA. In my view, Devon left because of poor talent management in SA.
‘Some of his coaches referred to him as an “amateur bully”. Stating that he wouldn’t cut it at international level.
‘Our system had effectively hammered his confidence and could not recognise his talent; and thus manage it accordingly.’
Ramela cautions that if there are not changes in the system, many more talented players could be lost to South African cricket.
‘I know many cricketers of the same ability as him who do not have the luxury to walk away and ply their trade elsewhere.
‘The reality is that the environment in New Zealand has managed to make him thrive. Our environment throttled and stifled his talent.
‘South African cricket has some tough questions to answer about why we lose players out of the professional system into the townships and/or to Kolpak.’